A gallery is transformed into a basketball court at the AGO in Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre

Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre press shot

Air Jordan sneakers transformed into masks, golf bags into totems, a whale skeleton made of patio chairs, a gallery resembling a gymnasium – Brian Jungen’s singular vision has returned to Toronto in a compelling major exhibition at the AGO. Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre explores this internationally renowned artist’s unique approach to sculpture and large-scale installations made from everyday objects. This exhibition includes a broad range of Jungen’s work, including sculpture, painting, drawing and film, and offers a revealing look into his personal archive.  Curated by Kitty Scott, the AGO’s Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, this is the first major solo exhibition by a contemporary Indigenous artist to be featured in the AGO’s marquee Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion and is on view now.

It is also the first major exhibition to open since the AGO announced its groundbreaking pricing changes. Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre is free for AGO Members, AGO Annual Pass holders and visitors 25 years and under. Annual Passes provide unlimited admission for an entire year for only $35, including the AGO Collection and all special exhibitions. For more details about the Annual Pass or to become a Member, visit ago.ca.

Jungen (b.1970) is well known for multidisciplinary art making that explores a long history of cultural inequality, a concern for the environment and a profound commitment to Indigenous ways of knowing and making. The exhibition includes 20 of Jungen’s critically acclaimed Prototype masks, as well as a large number of new Air Jordan sculptures and masks, several of which have never before been seen in Canada.

The exhibition is striking in its ambition, with one part transformed into a full-sized basketball court. With Friendship Centre, Brian is asking us to imagine the AGO as an important Indigenous space. Gymnasiums—open and multipurpose—are crucial hubs on reserves. Friendship Centres located in major cities perform a different but related purpose. Both are important gathering spaces, and the exhibition reflects that,” says Kitty Scott, Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.

Too large to fit inside the Sam and Ayala Zacks Pavilion, Jungen’s monumental installation ‘Furniture Sculpture’ (2006), will be on view in Walker Court from July 5 to July 23, 2019. A teepee made of skinned leather sofas, the artwork measures 27 feet high by 22 feet in diameter.  

‘Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre’ runs until Aug. 25, 2019. For more details, click here.